Battery Life and Conclusion
You might immediately notice two things here: first, the iPad Mini 2 didn't finish the test (as before with the Venue 8 review it kept crashing during the test, but I'll update the chart if I can correct this later), and second, the Venue 10 7000 suffers from some pretty dismal battery life. In actual use it certainly provided more than 6.18 hours on a single charge, but if you through in video playback or gaming and it will last much less than even this low number. Given how well the Venue 8 performed in this department it's the larger display size that sinks the Venue 10.
Even at 7000 mAh (the smaller Venue 8 contains a 5900 mAh battery) there simply isn't a large enough battery to make up for the needs of a big, high-res display like this. I understand why Dell would be reluctant to make the chassis thicker, but I would like to see the battery life up there with the Venue 8. Still, the 180 lux brightness level we run for these battery tests is quite high, (about 75% brightness) so if you run around 50% most of the time (as I do) you'll see results much closer to those of the Venue 8.
My primary concern entering this review was just how useful such a device would be for me, considering it runs Android and not Windows. My previous foray into Android tablets was the original Nexus 7, and with most of the available apps simply larger versions of their smartphone counterparts it wasn’t a compelling experience. So with this Venue 10, which at $499 for the unit without keyboard costs as much as a Microsoft Surface or an Apple iPad Air 2, I was prepared to be underwhelmed.
I will admit that the cursor support and dedicated keyboard buttons for back and home made using the Venue 10 as a laptop a surprisingly good experience. I could have been convinced I was using Windows when I was two-finger scrolling and typing in Chrome, and web browsing overall was a highlight of my experience. Productivity using Google Drive was also top-notch, and with these two apps we have an example of Google’s own commitment to their tablet OS platform. When compared to a Chromebook, on which I would be doing the same work that I came to do using Google’s core apps on this Venue 10, I would take the Dell tablet every time.
There are two tremendous advantages that the Venue 10 will have when comparing it to other tablets. The first is the OLED display, which is so rich and possesses such endless contrast as to make images seem almost three-dimensional. The second is the keyboard, which seems rather outrageously priced at $159, but a little more reasonable at $130 (the same cost as a Microsoft Type Pad) when purchased with the Venue 10 as a combo. The hinge is superb, the keys feel solid and have satisfying travel, and the trackpad is excellent – far more accurate and smoother than many regular laptops.
My verdict on the Dell Venue 10 7000 is that it’s a fantastic product from a hardware design standpoint, and Dell should be commended for really getting the convertible tablet right. No floppy keyboards and awkward kickstands, the Venue 10 keyboard’s hinge is strong and smooth; and while the keyboard is a much lighter than the tablet (which can make it feel a little unbalanced from a weight perspective) is still the best implementation I’ve seen for a product like this. And it just made me wish it ran Windows more and more each time I powered it up.
Bottom line, if I was reviewing the Venue 10 7000 strictly for its hardware and design, it would achieve our highest award status. As delivered however it is a flawed product due to the relatively poor battery life, underwhelming SoC performance from the Atom Z3580, and of course the mixed experience of Android as a tablet OS. Still, there's enough good to warrant a recommendation, though I highly recommend a demo first if you aren't sold on the Android tablet experience.